Just a few thoughts about smart-shaming:
My friends and I were reminiscing one evening, over cheese biscuits and wine, about vivid memories from our childhood.
There were the usual: first crushes, fights we got into, the mischief our teachers had to deal with and how much we thought we were badasses for being naughty.
But then Beth, the adorably shy woman of our friend group, opened up with this: “A teacher of mine in kindergarden once told me to shut up when I could name alot of the different dinosaurs in the museum in my town. I guess I was excited, and it got to the point where I was talking over her, and she kind of just snapped at me. I haven’t really gotten over it, I guess. I find myself apologizing if I think I’m talking too long about something.”
That story hasn’t escaped me for days.
Imagine a little girl, who loved dinosaurs so much she could impressvely name all those complicated dinosaur names, be told to shut up because her smarts was making the teacher look bad? Now the said little girl is a woman who apologizes when she thinks she’s talking too long about a subject she loves or finds interesting. How horrible!
It’s true teaching methods have largely changed since the time when we were kids, but this is a reminder of how deep they go. How words can still impact people deeply even after decades, and shape their personality for the worse.
Shaming someone for their input is a sure sign of insecurity. Just because you have nothing to bring to the table or feel that your input doesn’t hold up to theirs shouldn’t be grounds to smart-shame someone.
Smart-shaming happens when you try to invalidate someone’s answer or opinion with a jeer, or anything largely unconstructive and not related to what is being discussed.
How many times have you held back from answering a question out of fear of being branded a nerd or being too bookish by your peers? While there are some who can brush that off, unfortuantely there are others who can’t, and would rather live in comfortable conformity than utilize their potential.
I guess what I’m trying to impart to you is that there will always be opinions and ideas out there that will better than ours, more useful, or less complicated. And it’s up to us to work with each other on bettering these ideas for the good of everyone, and not telling them to “Shut up!” just because it hurt our ego.